2015 Natl. Quiz Bowl Awards: Congratulations to the Winners!

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2015 Natl. Quiz Bowl Awards: Congratulations to the Winners!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed May 27, 2015 1:31 am

The National History Bee and Bowl is happy to sponsor the fourth annual National Quizbowl Awards for the 2014-2015 season. This year, we will increase the budget for this from $1500 to $2000 in prize money, plaques, and food at NASAT to recognize the nation's top students and coaches at the middle and high school level. Last year, the procedure for nominating, voting, and distributing the awards seemed to work well, so we'll stick with that basic approach.

Here are the awards we will select. These are the same as last year. The nominating committee will consist of me and at least two and at most three other people to be determined in the next few days.

1. Top 9th grade player
2. Top 10th grade player
3. National High School Player of the Year
4. National High School A Team (i.e. students who rank 1-4 in the High School Player of the Year Voting)
5. National Middle School Player of the Year
6. National High School Coach of the Year
7. National Middle School Coach of the Year

All awards carry a $100 prize, courtesy of NHBB, except the National High School Player of the Year which has increased from $200 to $250 this year, and the 3 other National A Team Members whose prizes increase from $100 to $150 for this year. NHBB will also provide $650 in funding to sponsor the banquet at NASAT where the awards are given out, and the remaining $150 will cover the expense of the plaques each award recipient will receive.

Nominating Procedure
Each nominating committee member will rank 3 players/coaches in order for each of these categories except high school player of the year - for that category, five names will be submitted. Rankings will be done on a (9-7) 5-3-1 basis based in order of their ranks from each nominator. I will then tally the votes and the top 3 players/coaches for each position will be listed as names on the official voting ballot. The exception to this is the High School Player of the Year, which will have its top 8 players (or if fewer than 8 names are listed by the nominators, then however many are in fact listed) listed. The nominees, but not the vote totals from the nominating committee will be announced by June 5. Nominators will submit their ballots after HSNCT concludes.

Voting Procedure
Voting will only be open to those who have experience with quizbowl on a national level. High and middle school players may not vote. Coaches may vote, including for students on their team, though coaches who are nominated will not have their votes counted for Coach of the Year in the level at which they coach. Edit 6/5: Those who wish to vote must do so between (edit: 6pm EDT on June 7 and 6pm EDT on June 10), by emailing Bunnie Hadsall at bunnie@historybowl.com Please do NOT email/PM me as I will be traveling and busy for most of next week. Everyone who votes will select only 1 player/coach for each category, except National High School Player of the Year - for that, select 4, and label them in order. They will be ranked 7-5-3-1 with the top overall vote getter being the National High School Player of the Year, and the next 3 highest scorers being on the National A team.
If you are voting, you may leave a category with which you are unfamiliar blank (edit - or vote for only 1-4 people in a given category) That is indeed preferable than casting an uninformed ballot. Voters are encouraged to review performances of those who are on the ballot - more weight of course should be given to recent National Championship performances than other results. Also, the nominating committee reserves the right to disallow ballots if we have reason to suspect that you are unfamiliar with the high school/middle school quizbowl community. We may also contact you to clarify this, if there is reason to suspect your awareness of quizbowl at a national level. Note that this does not mean that only people who organize on a national basis can vote, but rather that we want informed voters for a fair vote.

Also, in the interest of time, I am not going to be able to go through and post individual statlines, but I strongly encourage all voters to look up stat reports when considering their votes, especially here: http://www.naqt.com/stats/player-search.jsp and here http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/

Nominees are now posted. Voting will begin once NSC concludes on Sunday. Ballots received prior to the end of NSC will not be accepted.
Edit June 16: Congratulations to the Winners! Their names are listed in bold below.

9th Grade Player of the Year
1. Thomas Freedman, Torrey Pines, CA
2. William Gentry, St. Joseph Central, MO
3. Alex Schmidt, Lehigh Valley Academy, PA

10th Grade Player of the Year
1. Andrew Liang, Johns Creek, GA
2. Shub Mehta, Dorman, SC
3. Jakob Myers, Naperville North, IL
4. Pranav Sivakumar, IMSA, IL

High School Player of the Year
1. Sam Blizzard, Northmont, OH - A Team Member
2. Austin Foos, Detroit Catholic Central, MI
3. Nirav Ilango, Chattahoochee, GA - A Team Member
4. Bruce Lou, Saratoga, CA
5. Kai Smith, Farragut, TN
6. Kevin Wang, Arcadia, CA
7. Eric Wolfsberg, Bethlehem Central, NY
8. Eric Xu, Western Albemarle, VA - A Team Member

High School Coach of the Year
1. Jason Flowers, LASA, TX
2. Linda Greene, Rockford Auburn, IL
3. Chris Schultz, Arcadia, CA

Middle School Player of the Year
1. Shomik Ghose, T.H. Rogers, TX
2. William Golden, Harmony School of Excellence, TX
3. Evan Hochstein, Kealing, TX

Middle School Coach of the Year
1. Scott Fowler, River Trail, GA
2. Michael Golden, Harmony School of Excellence, TX
3. Patty Hill, Kealing, TX
Last edited by Great Bustard on Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:32 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards

Post by jonpin » Wed May 27, 2015 8:18 am

Presumably due to not updating something from last year's announcement, this says that nominees will be announced June 5, and voting is between June 4-7 (and notably, NSC is June 6-7). The voting window should certainly extend past the end of the second major national.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards

Post by Great Bustard » Wed May 27, 2015 12:15 pm

Yeah, I had just moved up the dates by one day over last year, not remembering the date switch for NSC. I'll adjust accordingly.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Nominees Posted

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:55 am

Congratulations to the 2015 National Quizbowl Award Nominees! Voting will begin once NSC ends. The nominating committee this year consisted of Jeff Hoppes (NAQT), Matt Jackson (PACE), and me (NHBB). Voting totals from the nominating committee are not announced. All nominees are listed alphabetically by last name within their category, not by vote total or any other metric. There was a tie in the 10th grade player of the year voting; hence four nominees in that category.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Nominees Posted

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:20 pm

Since I'm going to be traveling for much of next week, and prepping our Asian Championships, please send your ballots to Bunnie Hadsall at bunnie@historybowl.com and NOT to me once voting opens on Sunday evening. Thanks.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:16 am

Voting is now open - please send your ballots to Bunnie Hadsall as specified above. Good luck to the nominees!
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:59 pm

I'm curious about the reasoning behind the exclusion of any Detroit Catholic Central coach from the ballot.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by KnicksRule » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:52 pm

Just wondering, why was a certain Lexington (MA) sophomore not part of the top 4? He empirically was one of the top 2 in the country, including at HSNCT. He might not get top PPG because he has a strong team.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:26 pm

Nothing quite as sad as griping about minor slights in a public forum.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:48 pm

Stefan HSQBRankovich wrote:Nothing quite as sad as griping about minor slights in a public forum.
I don't think being snubbed of a potential $100 is "minor"
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Phamilt » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:57 pm

Stefan HSQBRankovich wrote:Nothing quite as sad as griping about minor slights in a public forum.
If not being nominated for an award you deserve is a "minor slight" then why even give out these awards at all? Jerk.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by RexSueciae » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:40 pm

Kilroy Was Here wrote:I'm curious about the reasoning behind the exclusion of any Detroit Catholic Central coach from the ballot.
KnicksRule wrote:Just wondering, why was a certain Lexington (MA) sophomore not part of the top 4?
The answer, of course, is that Dave Madden harbors a personal burning hatred for all things related to DCC and Lexington, and only now has moved to take his hideous revenge!

Or maybe the three-person nominating committee didn't think of it because they were only three people. I dunno.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:00 am

RexSueciae wrote:
Kilroy Was Here wrote:I'm curious about the reasoning behind the exclusion of any Detroit Catholic Central coach from the ballot.
KnicksRule wrote:Just wondering, why was a certain Lexington (MA) sophomore not part of the top 4?
The answer, of course, is that Dave Madden harbors a personal burning hatred for all things related to DCC and Lexington, and only now has moved to take his hideous revenge!

Or maybe the three-person nominating committee didn't think of it because they were only three people. I dunno.
Yes, because asking how the choice was made implies that I'm making sort of grand accusation of conspiracy.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:06 am

Note the following:
1. The nominating committee did all its work before NSC
2. Procedures used this year were not different than the past two years
3. Particularly after NSC, one can make all sorts of arguments about who else should have been nominated, but we can't change things ex post facto, nor accept write in votes, as that defeats the purpose of a nominating committee in the first place which is to try and negate regional biases and make sure that this doesn't turn into a free for all (the first version of the National Quizbowl Awards had more issues with this).
4. Next year, the nominating committee will wait until Sunday evening after NSC / HSNCT (whichever comes later) to submit their nominees, which should help mitigate grounds for controversy here.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by luke1865 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:33 pm

Did the nominating committee take NHBB performance into account?
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Lo, Marathon Ham! » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:33 pm

luke1865 wrote:Did the nominating committee take NHBB performance into account?
It's called a National Quiz Bowl Award...still though, congratulations on your JV championship at NHBB, maybe you'll get nominated and have the opportunity to pursue further awards in the coming years.

Also, just a suggestion, but perhaps the nominating committee can consult with the people who participate in the new HSQB poll as that would help get inputs from other regions and would perhaps lead to other deserving nominees (like the Lexington sophomore, previously mentioned, who elevated his previously 5-5 team from last year to some amazing victories at HSNCT this year). This would lead to a more balanced view of regions and allow people who may not be known nationally and yet are fantastic players who deserve that recognition a chance at such awards. If this is already done, then please disregard, but if not then maybe this is a constructive thought towards nominations for next year.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:54 pm

Lo, Marathon Ham! wrote:
luke1865 wrote:Did the nominating committee take NHBB performance into account?
It's called a National Quiz Bowl Award...still though, congratulations on your JV championship at NHBB, maybe you'll get nominated and have the opportunity to pursue further awards in the coming years.

Also, just a suggestion, but perhaps the nominating committee can consult with the people who participate in the new HSQB poll as that would help get inputs from other regions and would perhaps lead to other deserving nominees (like the Lexington sophomore, previously mentioned, who elevated his previously 5-5 team from last year to some amazing victories at HSNCT this year). This would lead to a more balanced view of regions and allow people who may not be known nationally and yet are fantastic players who deserve that recognition a chance at such awards. If this is already done, then please disregard, but if not then maybe this is a constructive thought towards nominations for next year.
I agree with Mohan on this point. I think it would be interesting at the end of the year to do a player-based top player poll, rather than one just based on small committees. It is more likely that the players have a better sense of how good each other are when they have actually directly played one another, as opposed to the rankings done by Fred, which are completely subjective (there's nothing wrong with his rankings, but I feel like it would be more accurate to do a ranking based on players' feedback, who have seen firsthand how good someone is rather than purely basing their rankings on statistics.)
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Lo, Marathon Ham! » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:57 pm

Does anyone know if there is a stat such as win-shares that would allow for a statistical ranking of the impact of a player on a team? Perhaps, this would aid in the process of selecting players for the awards without bias due to a player's inherent "fame", them being from a club of noted history, or regional bias (or really any other reason people who seem deserving get left out by the nominating committee). Unlike the ppb rank that Mr. Morlan does, a simple ppg rank doesn't prove anything nor does a power rate rank in regards to assessing individual players. If there is no such statistic, then I'll try to work on something that helps put players in context of their individual stats, their team's success, and possibly their teammate strength. It is great that the quiz bowl community is making strides to recognize strong individual players for their achievements, but in the process it has created an inadvertent push against strong players within strong teams who may be much better than their individual counterparts and yet shadowed out. But again, measuring and identifying such scenarios is challenging and might possibly only be plainly visible with players from national championship teams such as DCC (who I should point out Mr. Morlan's all team rank did a fantastic job of identifying since he deserves a lot of credit for conducting a fairly effective rank, especially as he did it himself).

Note to mods: Maybe this requires a separate forums thread under theory?
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:05 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:
Lo, Marathon Ham! wrote:
luke1865 wrote:Did the nominating committee take NHBB performance into account?
It's called a National Quiz Bowl Award...still though, congratulations on your JV championship at NHBB, maybe you'll get nominated and have the opportunity to pursue further awards in the coming years.

Also, just a suggestion, but perhaps the nominating committee can consult with the people who participate in the new HSQB poll as that would help get inputs from other regions and would perhaps lead to other deserving nominees (like the Lexington sophomore, previously mentioned, who elevated his previously 5-5 team from last year to some amazing victories at HSNCT this year). This would lead to a more balanced view of regions and allow people who may not be known nationally and yet are fantastic players who deserve that recognition a chance at such awards. If this is already done, then please disregard, but if not then maybe this is a constructive thought towards nominations for next year.
I agree with Mohan on this point. I think it would be interesting at the end of the year to do a player-based top player poll, rather than one just based on small committees. It is more likely that the players have a better sense of how good each other are when they have actually directly played one another, as opposed to the rankings done by Fred, which are completely subjective (there's nothing wrong with his rankings, but I feel like it would be more accurate to do a ranking based on players' feedback, who have seen firsthand how good someone is rather than purely basing their rankings on statistics.)
Devin, if you want a player-based poll, why don't you just start one?
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Lo, Marathon Ham! » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:12 pm

Well, in the past player based polls have not always been successful (I believe I was accused of "trolling" one in the past when indeed I had not) since players many times do not know the merits of other teams as well as they believe themselves to. That being said, if a player poll was to exist, I doubt it would be viable or even wise to place such a responsibility in the hands of a mere high schooler.

In regards to Devin's suggestion of player based player rank, I think such an idea could be tried out, but definitely should not be utilized for a National Awards decision. His idea may hold some virtue to it though and perhaps merits further discussion.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Monstruos de Bolsillo » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:23 pm

Quizbowl could use some sabermetric-based stats, in my opinion. However, I have no idea who would create these stats.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Guile Island » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:24 pm

Monstruos de Bolsillo wrote:Quizbowl could use some sabermetric-based stats, in my opinion. However, I have no idea who would create these stats.
There was a thread a few years ago where this was proposed. It was generally not well-received.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Cody » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:19 am

You can't have sabermetrics without good data. There is no good data in quizbowl, currently. Trying to suss out further and further things from the bad data we have accomplishes nothing.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:46 am

For those not at the award ceremony, who were the recipients of the awards?
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by gimmedatguudsuccrose » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:29 pm

At the awards ceremony, only 1 award was given out (to Eric Xu for making the National A-team), as he was the only award-recipient present at the end of the ceremony.

EDIT for clarity - Rob is 100% correct.
Last edited by gimmedatguudsuccrose on Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Beevor Feevor » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:32 pm

From asking Daniel separately after everyone was cleaning up, I believe that the below is accurate. Daniel, post in this chat if I'm wrong about something, but these are the ones that I managed to ask about before we had to get going.

High School Player of the Year: Austin Foos
9th Grade Player of the Year: Alex Schmidt
10th Grade Player of the Year: Shub Mehta
High School Coach of the Year: Jason Flowers
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Rabbinator » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:27 pm

Congratulations to the following award-winners of the 2015 National Quizbowl Awards presented this past weekend:

9th Grade Player of the Year
Alex Schmidt

10th Grade Player of the Year
Shub Mehta

Middle School Player of the Year
William Golden

High School Coach of the Year
Jason Flowers

Middle School Coach of the Year
Scott Fowler

High School Player of the Year
Austin Foos

National High School A Team
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Eric Xu
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:02 pm

Mafia Kraut Rights wrote:At the awards ceremony, only 1 award was given out (to Eric Xu for making the National A-team).
The reason for this, to be clear, was that everyone else had either already left NASAT or was not present in the first place.
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Beevor Feevor » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:21 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Mafia Kraut Rights wrote:At the awards ceremony, only 1 award was given out (to Eric Xu for making the National A-team).
The reason for this, to be clear, was that everyone else had either already left NASAT or was not present in the first place.
I'm not sure if this merits its own thread or anything, but Quizbowl awards ceremonies always seem kinda limp and boring, and I'm sure whether there is anything to be done about that. Even at HSNCT, where 272 teams attended, only a fraction of the teams were able to stick around until the very end. This may be something that is inevitable in an activity that allows eliminated people to just leave (to use an example, Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments typically get pretty dull during Grand Finals at local tournaments), but is there any way to make awards ceremonies in general not quite as deflating?

As someone who enjoys Quizbowl a ton, it's always a little embarrassing to have to sit around in an auditorium that's only 10% full and listen to a confused audience clap sporadically for teams who may or may not be there. It would certainly help with the prestige and feel of a national tournament if the awards ceremony was better attended, and I'm curious as to whether or not the tournament directors or people affiliated with various nationals have any thoughts or comments on this issue, or whether or not it is an issue at all!
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:43 am

NHBB has learned after 5 years of running Nationals that the optimal way to distribute awards is to just ensure that whoever is reading the last games in which players who are going to receive awards are playing in should just be given the awards and told to give them to the players. Trying to do awards ceremonies usually is more trouble than it's worth and leads to us having to send off awards at the end of things. How many of the NQA winners for 2015 were actually at NASAT in the first place anyway other than Eric?
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Smuttynose Island » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:16 am

Great Bustard wrote:NHBB has learned after 5 years of running Nationals that the optimal way to distribute awards is to just ensure that whoever is reading the last games in which players who are going to receive awards are playing in should just be given the awards and told to give them to the players. Trying to do awards ceremonies usually is more trouble than it's worth and leads to us having to send off awards at the end of things. How many of the NQA winners for 2015 were actually at NASAT in the first place anyway other than Eric?
I believe that 5 players were there (Eric, Shub, Austin, Sam and Alex). Of the five, three awards were handed out. Two were given to players who left early, while the third was presented to Eric. Day of we definitely could have done a better job with the award ceremony. I originally anticipated more people sticking around, just like last year. Unfortunately, I think that the fact that three games needed to be played in the banquet hall (two play-in games and a one game final) caused a lot of people to leave early. Once I realized this was happening, I did go around and began handing out awards early.
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Re: 2015 Natl. Quiz Bowl Awards: Congratulations to the Winn

Post by That DCC guy » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:35 am

Where would someone who didn't receive their award at the NASAT banquet get their award. Or who should I talk to?
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Re: 2015 Natl. Quiz Bowl Awards: Congratulations to the Winn

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:14 am

That DCC guy wrote:Where would someone who didn't receive their award at the NASAT banquet get their award. Or who should I talk to?
I have contacted all the recipients and we're working this out. Recipients will receive their awards and checks by the end of the month (or at the Intl. History Olympiad if they prefer).
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Re: 2015 National Quiz Bowl Awards: Voting Open

Post by Rabbinator » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:59 am

Einhard wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Mafia Kraut Rights wrote:At the awards ceremony, only 1 award was given out (to Eric Xu for making the National A-team).
The reason for this, to be clear, was that everyone else had either already left NASAT or was not present in the first place.
I'm not sure if this merits its own thread or anything, but Quizbowl awards ceremonies always seem kinda limp and boring, and I'm sure whether there is anything to be done about that. Even at HSNCT, where 272 teams attended, only a fraction of the teams were able to stick around until the very end. This may be something that is inevitable in an activity that allows eliminated people to just leave (to use an example, Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments typically get pretty dull during Grand Finals at local tournaments), but is there any way to make awards ceremonies in general not quite as deflating?

As someone who enjoys Quizbowl a ton, it's always a little embarrassing to have to sit around in an auditorium that's only 10% full and listen to a confused audience clap sporadically for teams who may or may not be there. It would certainly help with the prestige and feel of a national tournament if the awards ceremony was better attended, and I'm curious as to whether or not the tournament directors or people affiliated with various nationals have any thoughts or comments on this issue, or whether or not it is an issue at all!
Coming from a community where the awards ceremony is a HUGE thing, I still haven't adjusted to the lack of pomp and circumstance of quizbowl tournaments. One person tried to explain to me that the majority of quizbowl players don't really care about the award, but I'm not sure how true this is. The big difference between the community I come from and quizbowl is that you already know who the winners are in quizbowl. There's no suspense once the games are over. No one has to sit around crossing their fingers to find out if they scored high enough to get an award. I tried to simulate that suspense in Arizona with my Power Plaque and top 3 student awards, but people still leave early (even if they're the ones who end up winning). I've considered adding a raffle, but even then I don't think people would stick around. Not unless I offered some significant sum of money.

Maybe you and I together can solve this mystery and make quizbowl awards ceremonies exciting and well-attended for quizbowlers everywhere!
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Re: 2015 Natl. Quiz Bowl Awards: Congratulations to the Winn

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:23 am

I have run some successful awards ceremonies. Here are two options that work:

1) I hate to be crass, but do it in front of a captive audience. Do it during an opening meeting for a tournament or, if you are feeding everybody, during lunch. I can do it before the finals of Scobol Solo, because about a third of the people in the tournament have a teammate on the stage, and the final is enough of a spectacle that some of the other people stick around too. I can't do it before or after the finals of the normal tournament I run, because it's at a point where everybody wants to get the thing over with and hit the road. Of course, if it is during an Opening Ceremony, then you have to do everything in your power to have it run in a timely manner, and you have to decide whether it is worth holding up the tournament for 10-15 minutes to do it.

2) Have a separate awards ceremony, and invite families and coaches. One issue with this approach is that, in my experience in Illinois, it works better on downstate students from small schools than on suburban students from large schools.

EDIT: The separate event wouldn't work well for national awards because of the distances.
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